Powerful movements are not defined by what they are against but what they are FOR
Speaking of the Reclaim the Streets (RTS) movement of the late 1990’s, American author and activist Rebecca Solnit writes: “The premise behind RTS’s street parties seemed to be that if what they were protesting against was isolation, privatisation and alienation, then a free-for-all party out in public was not just a protest but a solution.” And as Solnit reminds us earlier in the same piece, the term “politics of prefiguration” has long been used to describe the idea that if you embody what you aspire to, you have already succeeded.
The beauty of our organising and activism spaces, realised all too soon by the alt-right, is their ability to provide a microcosmic version of the world we wish to create. It is not only our opportunity but our obligation to step into the divisive chasms of loneliness, fear and alienation created by neoliberalism, creating spaces organised around joy, solidarity and community, around healing deep wounds and reasserting our own humanity.
Having spent the bulk of this year working with activists, organisers and thinkers here in the UK, and in the US exploring what the formula for a successful, systemic social movement worthy of challenging neoliberalism might look like, I’ve arrived not at a conclusion but a starting point. In the face of the cultural and political assault that neoliberalism presents, simply coming together to organise for something different around these values is in itself a radical political act.
The powerful movements that will lead us out of this darkness will not be solely defined by what they are against but what they are for. They will invite us in all our wholeness and complexity and contradictions, and in doing so will speak in many languages to many people.
Read the whole thing here.